On 6 September 2019, the EMS Foundation, convened an international Indaba and Panel Discussion with national and international elephant behavioural specialists in Hermanus, Western Cape, South Africa, to discuss the issue of elephants in captivity and to develop a framework as well as policy guidelines for dealing with elephants in captivity.
The Indaba was the first consultative gathering of elephant specialists and elephant interest groups in Africa specifically dealing with elephants in captivity, the role Africa has in sending elephants into captivity and what we need to do to get them out of the metaphorical room.
In order to enable frank exploration of the issues and practical proposals, the Indaba was conducted under the Chatham House Rule and with a number of “ground rules” which aimed to ensure open, respectful dialogue, and maximum participation.
The overwhelming message was that elephants belong in the wild and must be returned to the wild in all cases where this is a legitimate possibility. Given whatwe know about who elephants are and the conditions under which they thrive, thereis no reason to keep them in captivity.
This Summary Report, which has been prepared by the overall Chairperson (Dr Don Pinnock) of the Indaba together with the Rapporteur (Dr Ross Harvey), provides a brief overview of the themes discussed and its outcomes, and is in no way reflective of all views articulated during the meeting.
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